A Generosity Dare

by KJ McNamara

KJ McNamara Thanksgiving is coming right up which will quickly be followed by the warmth and excitement of Christmas and Hanukah.  The New Year is around the corner with promise of new beginnings and fun to come.  The excitement of the presidential elections is still fresh and exciting in everyone’s mind.    There is no wonder that this is truly many American’s favorite time of year.

Here at Phired Up, we love this season because it is the season of giving.  It is the time of year where we put our selves, our agenda and our needs second to give back and thank all of the wonderful people in our lives.  This is the time where we dedicate ourselves to a greater purpose and a greater cause. This is the time where we dedicate ourselves to the purest form of Generosity.

Generosity is one of the 4 pillars of Social Excellence , (as many of you know).  But very rarely do we examine this pillar alone and how much the pure idea of being generous can change the world and start a movement.

We love seeing all of your facebook posts about what you are truly thankful for, what a generous way to thank the people around you.  This form of generosity is a movement all on its own.

There are a lot of other ways people change the world during this time of year with their generosity.  They buy gifts for complete strangers and needy families.  They write a check to their favorite charity.  They volunteer at their local food bank. All of these are powerful gestures, but keep in mind that the spirit of generosity can be simple and not cost much time or money too…  Social Excellence teaches generosity as a way to BUILD CONNECTIONS WITH PEOPLE.  Give first — make someone’s day — and trust that there is no more powerful lubricant for relationships than pure generosity.  Simple acts — small momentary choices — can be powerful this time of year.  Check out these ideas:

Another pillar of Social Excellence is AUTHENTICITY.  This pillar, among other things, reminds us that within each person lies an authentic self that is made from the good stuff of life, as well as the tough stuff of life.  We never know what another person is going through — especially this time of year.  We never know how giving of ourselves, of our precious time and energy can literally make their day, their week, or their life better.

Mother Teresa once said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless.”

We hear so many people want to matter to this world.  We hear professionals, students and mentors say over and over again that they deeply desire to make this world a better place.  If you want to change to world… be kind, be nice, make people’s day better just because you were in it.  Be generous. There is another quote by William J.H. Boetcker that says, “Your greatness is measured by your kindness.”

So we have a challenge for all of our best friends reading this.  A dare.  We dare you to be do three things each day that are purely GENEROUS.  Make three people’s day.  Whatever you choose, to do to accomplish that dare, WE WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT!  Actually we want to see it!  Send us a picture on Twitter (#BeThePerson #SocialExcellence).  Upload a video toFacebook .  We love seeing these videos they inspire us every day and we would be more then thrilled to see all of your faces doing the things that make us feel so warm and fuzzy!

It only takes one person to change the world… Are you going to be that one person who starts a movement of generosity?  We will follow you, and so will so many others!

Seal The Deal

by KJ McNamara

seal-deal-kj We have traveled the country for years, helping sorority women and fraternity men recruit a higher quality member for their organizations. We get asked a lot of questions, as you might imagine.

One question we get frequently is: “How do I get them to join/how do I get them to say yes/How do I get them to choose us?” — essentially, "HOW DO I CLOSE THE DEAL?" This question has a surprisingly simple answer, but not many people practice it. Getting a person to pick your organization requires one small easy solution – vulnerabe, meaningful, powerful conversations.

If you want a potential member to raise their right hand and swear in front of God and everybody that they will be a member of your organization forever, that will require a REAL conversation. Since this conversation is kind of a big deal (it could change their life FOREVER), you need to be a little bit vulnerable. Open up… show them your true authentic self; because when you do, you give them permission to do the same. And when you are both open, vulnerable and honest with one another… you mutually feel accepted. Committing to join a fraternity/sorority is a massive deal. Treat it as such with a conversation that reflects the importance of the occasion.

Now this does not always work. There are situations where you have the opportunity to be truly vulnerable with a potential member and they choose to not join, or go elsewhere. This is OK, actually it is better… this is great. We have to remember in these situations that they saw the true authentic version of your organization and they realized it was not for them… this is better then lying and glamoring them with a fake version of your organization and having them leave later.

Only when you have powerful conversations are people joining for the right reasons, joining for you, for your members, and for the person you allow them to become.

If you want to seal the deal, if you want to get people to put you first on their list, it is really simple… have a powerful, transformative conversation. Powerful conversations not only change you and the person you are talking to… but they transform the relationship between the two of you, turning you from acquaintances to true friends.

Your Civic Duty: Talk to People

img_0753 by Matt Mattson

This post was on my Facebook Newsfeed yesterday, and it made me smile. Social Excellence DARES us to engage with not only the people around us, but also the society around us. A line in the definition of Social Excellence reads, "The deepest level of societal participation and contribution."

So, at this vital juncture in our time as Americans, will you choose to engage? Will you choose to talk to your neighbors, representatives, family members, classmates, co-workers, and friends about the future of our society?

If you’re new to engaging with people about the important topics of our time, try some of these questions (you’ll note that none of them are, "So, who are you voting for?")

This election feels important, what issues are most important to you?

If you were in charge of the country for a day, what impression would you want to leave?

Who are the political leaders that you really admire?

How can we get more people in our [neighborhood, school, workplace, club, etc.] to vote?

We know it can be a bit scary to talk to people during election season — with all the sharp tones, accusatory mailers, incessant political phone calls, and attack ads, the tone of public discourse is not exactly pleasant — but that’s why Social Excellence matters right now. Will you talk to the people in your life about THE FUTURE OF OUR NATION? Our nation requests your service in this regard. It is what we’re founded upon. Just do it in a Socially Excellent manner.

Go talk to people. It is your civic duty.

The Moments In Between

by Matt Mattson


You’re busy. Especially if you’re a high performing college student. Especially if you’re a fraternity/sorority leader or recruitment chair. Class, homework, significant other, organizational meetings, call home every once in a while, try to have a social life… Every day is slammed. How do you fit in being SOCIALLY EXCELLENT , or for that matter, DYNAMIC RECRUITING ?

Focus on the "Moments in Between."

It doesn’t take an hour (or even a 1/2 hour) to accomplish important tasks that can result in your organization growing.

It’s amazing how much time is often available in most people’s day to do "results producing activities," but they just don’t know it. That’s because that free time is often found in chunks of time that are two to 12 minutes long. Many organizational leaders who want to recruit don’t have a full hour to devote, (or even a half hour) on many days. But

they do have a handful of something close to 12-minute chunks of time. What can you do with five 12-minute chunks?

Most phone calls to prospects on a Names List (to invite them to small activities or one-on-one meetings) take 90 seconds. THAT’S 40 PHONE CALLS.

Something like this takes no more than 5 minutes, "Excuse me, we have class together and I noticed you’re in a sorority. Can I talk to you for about 3 minutes? I’m trying to identify men on campus who could be considered ‘diamonds in the rough.’ These guys don’t go out hunting for fraternities. I’m looking for guys that someone like you would respect, appreciate, and really think highly of. Who are three to five guys you can think of right now who fit that criteria? I’d like to call them and buy them a cup of coffee to explain what fraternity could really be." If you did that 5 times in your "moments in between," you could add 25 names to your names list a day.

Take advantage of the "Moments In Between." Every moment is a choice… What will you do with your moments?

[P.S. It's o.k. to take a "moment" to breathe every once in a while too.  Moments alone, in reflection, or just being playful can re-charge and re-energize you so your moments of results-producing activity are even more effective!]

S.P.A.M. & Greek Recruitment

jumping-spam-x1 Phired Up celebrates its 10th birthday this year. We’re pretty excited about that, and it has us reviewing the evolution of our message.

Not too long ago, S.P.A.M. was a centerpiece of our fraternity/sorority recruitment curriculum (we rarely teach it anymore).  We thought now would be a good time to share publicly, for the first time on our blog, the S.P.A.M. message. Also, keep an eye out on social media and this blog for some other fun S.P.A.M. themed cartoons, pictures, and more. Just for fun.

Here’s an explanation that can be found in slightly altered form in our books, Good Guys and I Heart Recruitment .

Have you ever had the pleasant opportunity of cracking open an ice cold can of meat?  That’s right, we’re talking about canned, spiced, efficient, delicious pork and ham cubes.

What comes to mind when we mention “S.P.A.M?”  Go ahead, make your own list of words that you think of when you hear “S.P.A.M.”  Don’t just limit yourself to the strange meat product, what about email spam?

Typically, when we ask those questions, we get responses that include the following terms and statements:
Canned mush
Gelatinous goo
Mystery meat
“Not much substance”
“Yum, I love that stuff.” (There’s always one person)
“What is it?”
“A can of nothing”
“What do those letters mean anyway?”
“Leftovers stuffed together”
“You could eat it, but you probably don’t want to”
“It’s technically food, but… gross”
“I’d rather eat a steak”
“I’d rather eat my own arm”

Most people have a very clear opinion of S.P.A.M. and, most often, it’s not a good one.  Ironically, the overwhelming majority of Americans have never even tried it.  They just “know” it’s not for them.

Now, here’s a different question.  Do you have anyone on your campus that is anti-Greek?  Duh…  We know you do.

Here’s a better question.  Do you think a few of those words listed above describing salty meat products and billions of annoying emails might be similar to the words that your anti-Greek classmates would use to describe the fraternities and sororities on your campus?

Go ahead and read the list again.

It’s not a fun analogy, but sadly it works.  Many of the fraternities you’ll encounter around the country actually are rather disgusting, annoying, canned meat, without much substance, living together in a mysterious box with strange letters on the front that nobody understands.

Now consider how those anti-Greek folks might describe your recruitment efforts:  repetitive, in your face, strange, annoying tactics to con people into joining something they don’t actually want.  Sounds a lot like email spam, don’t you think?

Now imagine what a dozen S.P.A.M. cans might resemble if we lined them up next to one another…  Yep, Fraternity/Sorority Row on your campus.  A bunch of houses lined up that all look the same, with strange letters on the outside and smelly gelatinous goo for members on the inside.  Similarly, the majority of Americans have never tried fraternity either, and their preconceived notion is that they “know” what it’s all about and they know it’s not for them.

Anyway, it’s just an analogy.  The real lesson here is in the acronym with which S.P.A.M. provides us.  That acronym describes the reasons for 95% of your organization’s recruitment problems, and consequently, organizational quality problems.  Your recruitment results could dramatically increase with improvement in these four areas:  Skills, Product knowledge, Audience understanding, and Motivation.

With these four road blocks identified, we can get our arms around the recruitment problem and begin addressing the real issues at hand.  The reasons you are not at your peak performance is not because the administration is against you, another fraternity uses dirty rush antics, the Greek Council dropped the ball during formal recruitment week, you don’t have a house, or any other excuse.  These are beyond your control.  The only reason you haven’t tripled your membership is because your members did not have the Skill, Product knowledge, Audience understanding, or Motivation necessary to succeed.  These are things within your control.

P.S. We have always been a big fan of real SPAM . We’ve cracked open "fresh" cans of that yummy stuff with lots of audiences. A couple of us have even visited the SPAM Museum (a must see). Thanks to all our supporters who have enjoyed a can or two of SPAM with us over the years.

Say “Thanks” For Changing Your Life

by Josh Orendi

certificate-of-appreciation Think back to life before the fraternity/sorority.

Odds are that you weren’t looking for a Greek experience.  One wo/man stepped into your life and changed its course forever.  S/he is the person responsible for you becoming a member of your organization.  Please honor that person by entering their name on this Certificate of Appreciation.

(Feel free to share this token of your appreciation with them. Maybe at least forward this link or post publicly on Facebook/Twitter who "your person" is. It will probably make their day!)

Nearly every fraternity/sorority member in the chapter can name one person responsible for their membership.  That person changed your life forever with the gift of membership.

This speaks to an important truth about recruitment:

People do not join organizations! People join people. We build our love for the organization over time.

Sororities: Prepare for Winter/Spring Formal Recruitment

by Shira Tober

sor-rec-prep I’m a product of a deferred recruitment campus; it was great.

We spent the fall doing PR (wearing awesome t-shirts and using lettered tote bags) and participated in Panhellenic sponsored Open Houses (all chapters in one ballroom trying to reel the PNMs to our decorated table).  We were so prepared going into January recruitment because we already had face time with our “rush crushes.”  PNMs already knew who we were, we could just show up and we would beg us for bids, or so we thought.

Then reality set in and one year we wore sweatpants to Round 1 of Formal Recruitment.  Sweatpants and Converse sneakers. (Yea.  I know.)  So to counteract that blunder, the next year, my sisters and I were sent a 20 page PowerPoint presentation in August about what to wear for recruitment and where we could buy the clothing if we didn’t have it.  We were definitely more prepared headed into recruitment.  But to our shock, we had the same problem again; membership selection was still a mess.  No one remembered the PNMs except for the “popular” ones and those being heavily recruited by our major competition.  We focused on the superficial rather than relationship building.  Admittedly, we had people show up on bid day and my sister’s didn’t even recognize them.

Don’t have my experience! Spend the fall semester really preparing for deferred Formal Recruitment.  Coach your sisters on how to make a great 1st impression and how to follow that up with great conversation and true friendship making.  Check out the Formal Recruitment Webinar Series to ensure success leading out of Winter Beak!

Ask This Question

by Matt Mattson

phired_up-00667 "I’m a part of an organization on campus that’s about networking and leadership . Part of our goal is to meet all of the highest performing students on campus. I’m trying to meet the best of the best people here.  Who are 3-5 people that you think I should meet?"

That’s what I say to pretty much everyone I meet on a college campus when I’m recruiting for an organization.  You should say it too.

Can INTROVERTS be Socially Excellent?

by Matt Mattson

caring-for-your-introvert-and-extrovert I am an introvert . I don’t thrive off of large groups. Spending time alone gives me fuel. Quiet solitude is where I find some of life’s greatest joys. My natural tendency is to separate from the crowd… or at least seek a very small group of people to spend time with. I am an introvert.

Also, I am a professional speaker, trainer and coach. I work with large groups of people nearly every day for a living. I teach people social skills, I urge social engagement, and I co-authored a book on SOCIAL EXCELLENCE .  My work requires extraordinary amounts of social interaction, and I love my work.

It seems like those two preceding paragraphs couldn’t both be true about the same person.  I promise they are though. 100%. That’s me.

I’m reading a book about introverts title, "Quiet " by Susan Cain (see her TED Talk here, and read a recent NY Times editorial that she wrote here).  I’ll reserve my review of this book for another time, but I will share that it really got me thinking that there are probably a lot of "introverts" who hear our message of Social Excellence and assume it’s not for them. "I’m just not a people person," they might think. "I do my best work alone," they might even say.

I would offer, however, that the way we interact socially with the people around us is a) a choice, and b) the determining factor in our level of influence on the world around us.  While I might do my best work when I’m alone, I can’t share that work, those thoughts, those insights, with the outside world while I’m in my introverted bubble.  No matter the life path, I must eventually engage socially for my work to mean anything.  Are there exceptions to this? Probably. But most of us, if we want to change people’s minds, sell our wares, recruit new donors or members, influence others, or BE A LEADER, we must do so through other human beings .  We are social animals living in a SOCIETY. Our interactions with each other are the conduit through which that society flows.

I might be an introvert, but I make a choice to be Socially Excellent.  Do I take breaks, go quiet, disappear into the safety and warmth of alone time occasionally?  Yep. And I’m proud of it. In fact, I would recommend that to everyone who values a little quiet space. But I also deeply understand that the more hands I choose to shake, conversations I choose to have, and relationships I choose to build, the greater my potential to learn from others, be exposed to new ideas and experiences, have more people to support me when I need them, and influence others.

I might be an introvert, but I also want to matter to the world when it’s all said and done.  I know that the best way for me to do that, the best way for me to make a big impact, the best way for me to create the change I wish to see in the world is through my relationships with others.

Plus, once I started to choose Social Excellence as a lifestyle, I had better stories, more fun, and more success.

Yes, introverts can be Socially Excellent.

Multiply Your Influence & Recruitment Potential x 150 Today!!!

by Matt Mattson

many-hand-shakes Want to multiply your influence x 150 today?

Want to give yourself a 150% better chance to change minds?

Want to learn 150 x more about the world immediately?

Want to have a chance to fund raise from, sell to, learn about, or recruit 150% more people into your group right now?!

Well, here’s the secret.  Here’s how it is done.  Here’s how you, yes YOU, can multiply your influence x 150 (or more) right now!

Shake one hand. Have a conversation. Build a relationship. With one person…  Just one will do it.

See, for every hand you shake that turns into a relationship, your level of influence is multiplied by around 150!

Dr. Robin Dunbar has done research for at least 20 years on the size of social networks.  His research has suggested that the upper limit of close relationships someone can have is around 150 . This is called "Dunbar’s Number."  While that mostly refers to the maximum number of close friends one can likely have, our suggestion is that a person’s circle of influence goes beyond their closest friends.  In fact, in today’s digitally connected world, we have much wider circles of influence than ever before since so many of us broadcast to an audience of followers (Twitter) and friends (Facebook) amongst others.

In fact, your average friend on Facebook probably has around 359 "friends" according to this article from BBC News (that article also contains this fascinating little tidbit that encourages Social Excellence , "A study of 10,000 US students over a period of 35 years suggests the wealthiest people are those that had the most friends at school. Each extra school friend added 2% to the salar y").

For our college student readers, because of your proximity to one another, and the likelihood that if you’re reading our blog you’re connected to organized student groups who all congregate and interact with one another, it is likely that your social multiplier is even higher.

Here’s the point: Every time you choose to shake a hand, have a conversation, build a relationship (be Socially Excellent), you are expanding your potential circle of influence by a factor of nearly 150! That stranger walking by isn’t just one stranger — that’s 150 people that you could be connected with, that you could influence, that you could recruit, that you could learn from, that you could gather together around your cause.

So, choose to shake some hands today…